The Boston Celtics have entered the chat.
Four weeks after Kevin Durant’s shocking trade request became public knowledge, just hours before NBA free agency was set to begin, the Celtics jumped into the fray to try and acquire the superstar from the Nets. The Celtics have already offered Brooklyn all-star Jaylen Brown, guard Derrick White and a draft pick, according to The Athletic.
The Nets rejected the trade offer and countered with a request for Brown, Marcus Smart, picks and potentially another rotational player, according to the report. Both The Athletic and ESPN have painted the Celtics as a team that could be a strong contender to land one of the NBA’s most coveted talents.
The Celtics do not want to include Smart, who won Defensive Player of the Year and who the Nets saw up close during the playoffs, in the deal as of now. Still, they appear committed to working out a deal with the Nets and are looking at what their next steps are, the report stated.
The Nets asking price has been quite high considering the implications that Durant’s departure has for the franchise. General manager Sean Marks needs to get back a substantial haul to ensure that Brooklyn can remain a contender going forward and any retool quickly translates back to postseason success.
The Nets have also been trying to deal Kyrie Irving elsewhere, though previous reports have suggested that the team will deal with Irving’s situation after Durant’s status is handled. Irving did opt in to the final year of his contract last month and a report from the New York Post cited sources that suggested Irving wanted to remain in Brooklyn with or without Durant.
As for the 12-time NBA All-Star, his posture hasn’t appeared to change when it has come to his desire to be traded. Additionally, league executives that were out in Las Vegas for Summer League have started to wonder if Durant’s status for next season could be up in the air or if the superstar decides to hold out if a deal doesn’t get done.
The whispers could merely be a tactic by other executives or Durant’s camp to try and force the Nets’ hand into making a deal before the season begins. Various reports have stated that the Nets are willing to take this into training camp if nothing to their liking comes to fruition during the summer.
And it seemed as though there had been renewed hope that the Nets would run it back next season despite all of the offseason drama. However, it seems as though Marks and Brooklyn’s front office has still been working to try and honor Durant’s request, which was reportedly made directly to team owner Joe Tsai.
Durant had originally given the Nets a list of teams he’d prefer to go to with the Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat among the destinations. The Suns have essentially been eliminated from the Durant sweepstakes after they matched the Indiana Pacers’ offer sheet to Deandre Ayton.
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The Heat and Toronto Raptors are among the teams still in the hunt for Durant at the moment. Still, no deals for Durant appear to be imminent as the NBA offseason hits the doldrums of August.
If the Nets and Celtics do end up working out a deal, it would mark the second time this year that Brooklyn has traded one of its star players to a division rival. Marks traded disgruntled star James Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers in a blockbuster deal that sent Ben Simmons to Kings County.